Elite League Speedway season preview
The Elite League Speedway season returns soon and it promises to be yet another thrilling season.
There will be plenty of drama with overtaking maneouvres aplenty when the riders return to the shale.
Once again the Sky Sports cameras will be there all season long to witness all the action all the way including the end-of-season play-offs.
The 2009 season should be one of the most competitive Elite League seasons ever as a new scoring system should shake things up a bit.
The scoring system should mean there will be less opportunity for one-sided meetings with something to race for right up to the final heat 15 of each and every meeting.
2009 Scoring System
|Home loss by any amount of points = 0|
|Home draw = 1|
|Home win by between 1 and 6 points = 2|
|Home win by 7 points or more = 3|
|Away loss by 7 points or more = 0|
|Away loss by 6 points or less = 1|
|Away draw = 2|
|Away win by between 1 and 6 points = 3|
|Away win by 7 points or more = 4|
As well as the new scoring system a number of new rules were agreed at the British Speedway Promoters' Association (BSPA) AGM.
The new rules include the following:
- The doubling-up rule has been re-introduced whereby two Premier League riders with sub-eight point averages can share a place in an Elite League team.
- A team's top rider must race at number one and the two lowest at reserve - but the other four can now be placed in any order.
- Teams have two tactical rides at their disposal again now - one can be used when 10 points behind and one when 12 adrift.
- The play-offs will now involve six teams and feature quarter-final, semi-final and final stages.
- The promotion/relegation race-off will remain, but only the bottom Elite League club will now be involved.
Despite all the interesting new rules that look like producing an exciting season one disappointing factor is the lack of World Championship riders participating in this year's Elite League.
Below are the teams with their odds for winning the 2009 Elite League play-offs.
||View line-up||10/11 favourites|
|Coventry Bees||View line-up||7/1|
|Lakeside Hammers||View line-up||7/1|
|Peterborough Panthers||View line-up||8/1|
|Wolverhampton Wolves||View line-up||9/1|
|Ipswich Witches||View line-up||16/1|
|Belle Vue Aces
|Eastbourne Eagles||View line-up||33/1|
The Swindon Robins are hotly fancied at 10/11 to win their first Elite League title.
The Robins are led by Australian Leigh Adams, who has the biggest average of all this year's riders, and is one of just four Grand Prix riders.
Yet below this the Robins don't look to have enough in depth and therefore with their top heavy line-up do not look great value at such a short price.
On the other hand, the Lakeside Hammers could be a great bet at 7/1. The Essex side have exactly the opposite to Swindon with great strength in depth.
All four of Adam Shields, Lee Richardson, Jonas Davidsson and Joonas Kylmakorpi are capable of being number one riders and improving their averages throughout the season.
The saga of the off-season has been Edward Kennett's prolonged transfer from Eastbourne to Coventry.
The Englishman finally got his move away from the south coast albeit not exactly how he wanted.
Kennett initially just wanted to go on loan for a season to get more experience of racing on big tracks, but the Eagles responded by demanding if he was to go he was to go on a permanent basis.
Eventually Kennett signed for the Coventry Bees and with his addition the Bees look like they could contend.
Conversely at Eastbourne with Kennett's departure and those of Scott Nicholls and Lee Richardson the Eagles unsurprisingly find themselves as rank outsiders.
Another transfer wrangling was over Piotr Swiderski. The Peterborough asset was on loan at Ipswich last season and signed with Ipswich for 2009 allegedly without Peterborough being informed.
The Pole was impressive last year and he should further improve this season at Foxhall.
Defending champions Poole Pirates will be there or thereabouts again. They have retained the services of Dane Bjarne Pedersen. And with Aussie Chris Holder in tandem, Poole should have two potent spearheads.
Despite the notable absence of many of the top riders this season should still provide much entertainment and looks like being ultra competitive.
View below the full team line-ups at the time of writing.